Mexico negotiating with vigilantes holding town

Updated 04 November 2012
0

Mexico negotiating with vigilantes holding town

MEXICO CITY: Mexican authorities said Friday that they are close to striking a deal to provide more security for a southern town where angry villagers seized control after a taxi driver was kidnapped and killed.
Olinala Mayor Eusebio Gonzalez said the takeover began Saturday after about 100 people stormed a house where the four presumed kidnappers were hiding and killed the suspects by burning the building.
He said nearly 700 residents had since been taking turns policing entry into the town by barricading streets and installing checkpoints.
Gonzalez said the taxi driver’s killing was the latest in a series of violent attacks and Olinala residents are demanding more protection from criminal gangs.
Gonzalez said the Guerrero state governor has promised to increase help to battle drug crime.
“We’re looking to establish order. The governor is aware of the situation and wants to improve the situation,” Gonzalez said. “People feel like there isn’t another way.”
Known for its artisanal lacquered boxes and quaint colonial-style streets, the town’s vigilante unrest erupted at the taxi driver’s funeral when rumors circulated that a second driver had been kidnapped.
“Things got really ugly,” said Paola Rosendo, an Olinala resident.
Rosendo, a 50-year-old artisan, said tourism has decreased sharply over the last few years, forcing artisans to leave town in order to sell their crafts.
Eduardo Gallo, a respected Mexican anti-crime activist, said Olinala is just the latest in a series of towns where people have taken up arms to combat organized crime in frustration over the government’s inability to control drug violence.
“People took over in order to prevent authorities’ collusion with criminals,” Gallo said.
At least two towns in the western state of Michoacan have formed their own armed guard forces and thrown up roadblocks to keep out criminals. Towns in northern Mexico also have taken similar measures.


Afghan leaders ‘optimistic’ over Taliban peace talks

Updated 24 June 2018
0

Afghan leaders ‘optimistic’ over Taliban peace talks

  • The Taliban last week rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to extend the truce, but a government spokesman said on Saturday that the government was optimistic the militants were willing to engage in peace talks.
  • After ending the truce, the Taliban said its attacks against foreign troops and Afghans supporting them would continue.

KABUL: The Afghan government is confident of holding peace talks with Taliban militants despite a recent surge of attacks by insurgents, a palace spokesman said.

Shah Hussain Murtazawi said the announcement last week of a brief truce by the Taliban over Eid, the increasing movement of extremists and some field commanders to government-held areas, and a call for peace by the Imam of Makkah and the Saudi monarch were the basis of the government’s optimism.

The Taliban last week rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to extend the truce, but Murtazawi said on Saturday that the government was optimistic the militants were willing to engage in peace talks.

“A new chapter has been opened and the broad support for a cease-fire and an end to the war are the causes for our optimism,” he told Arab News.

“The fact that Taliban announced a truce and their commanders came into towns and celebrated Eid with government officials are positive signs that the extremists will be ready for talks with the government.”

However, no contact has been established with leaders of the group since the militants called off their truce, Murtazawi said.

After ending the truce, the Taliban said its attacks against foreign troops and Afghans supporting them would continue. Scores of Afghan troops have been killed in a spate of attacks, including assaults on military bases where the insurgents joined government forces to celebrate Eid.

Some tribal chiefs and local officials are calling for “safe zones” where extremists can hold initial talks with the government, according to a local official who refused to be named.